By Barrientos                                    S.B. No. 666

      75R5213 JSA-D                           

                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

 1-1                                   AN ACT

 1-2     relating to tuition, fees, and student loans of and certain

 1-3     benefits for certain graduate students employed as teaching

 1-4     assistants, assistant instructors, or research assistants at public

 1-5     institutions of higher education.


 1-7           SECTION 1.  Section 54.063, Education Code, is amended to

 1-8     read as follows:

 1-9           Sec. 54.063.  TEACHING OR RESEARCH ASSISTANT.  (a)  An

1-10     assistant instructor, [A] teaching assistant, or research assistant

1-11     of any institution of higher education and the spouse and children

1-12     of such an assistant instructor, [a] teaching assistant, or

1-13     research assistant are entitled to register in a state institution

1-14     of higher education by paying the tuition fees and other fees or

1-15     charges required for Texas residents under Section 54.051 of this

1-16     code, without regard to the length of time the assistant has

1-17     resided in Texas, if the instructor or assistant is employed at

1-18     least one-half time in a teaching or research assistant position

1-19     which relates to the instructor's or assistant's degree program

1-20     under rules and regulations established by the employer

1-21     institution.

1-22           (b)  The governing board of an institution of higher

1-23     education shall exempt from the payment of tuition fees a graduate

1-24     student who:

 2-1                 (1)  is employed at the institution as an assistant

 2-2     instructor, teaching assistant, or research assistant;

 2-3                 (2)  is researching or writing the report, thesis, or

 2-4     dissertation required by the student's graduate degree program; and

 2-5                 (3)  is not enrolled in a course with organized

 2-6     coursework.

 2-7           (c)  A student is considered to be enrolled as a full-time

 2-8     student for all purposes if the student:

 2-9                 (1)  is entitled to an exemption from tuition fees

2-10     under Subsection (b); or

2-11                 (2)  would be entitled to an exemption from tuition

2-12     fees under Subsection (b) except that the student is enrolled in a

2-13     course with organized coursework.

2-14           (d)  A student exempt from tuition fees under Subsection (b)

2-15     is also exempt from the payment of any fee imposed for the use of a

2-16     health or medical center or for health, hospital, or medical

2-17     services.

2-18           (e)  In its appropriations to general academic teaching

2-19     institutions, the legislature shall compute the local funds

2-20     available to each institution as if the tuition fees for which an

2-21     exemption is granted under Subsection (b) were collected by the

2-22     institution.

2-23           (f)  In this section, "general academic teaching institution"

2-24     has the meaning assigned by Section 61.003.

2-25           SECTION 2.  Subchapter Z, Chapter 51, Education Code, is

2-26     amended by adding Section 51.9085 to read as follows:


 3-1     EMPLOYEES.  The governing board of an institution of higher

 3-2     education at which a student entitled to an exemption from tuition

 3-3     fees under Section 54.063(b) is employed in a position listed in

 3-4     Section 54.063(b)(1) shall permit the student to participate in the

 3-5     group health insurance program provided to full-time employees of

 3-6     the institution in the same manner as a full-time employee.  A

 3-7     student participating in the group health insurance program is

 3-8     entitled to the same state contribution as a full-time employee of

 3-9     the institution.

3-10           SECTION 3.  The change in law made by this Act applies

3-11     beginning with the 1997 fall semester.

3-12           SECTION 4.  The importance of this legislation and the

3-13     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an

3-14     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the

3-15     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several

3-16     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended,

3-17     and that this Act take effect and be in force from and after its

3-18     passage, and it is so enacted.